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Open Access Nano Express

Deposition of Size-Selected Cu Nanoparticles by Inert Gas Condensation

M Gracia-Pinilla12, E Martínez3*, G Silva Vidaurri12 and E Pérez-Tijerina12

Author Affiliations

1 Facultad de Ciencias Físico-Matemáticas, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, San Nicolás de los Garza, Nuevo León, 66450, México

2 Centro de Innovación, Investigación y Desarrollo en Ingeniería y Tecnología, Laboratorio de Nanociencias y Nanotecnología (CIIDIT-UANL), PIIT Monterrey, Apodaca, NL, 66600, México

3 Centro de Investigación en Materiales Avanzados, S.C.(CIMAV), Av. Alianza Norte #202, Parque de Investigación e Innovación Tecnológica (PIIT), Nueva Carretera Aeropuerto Km. 10, Apodaca, Nuevo León, 66600, México

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2009, 5:180-188  doi:10.1007/s11671-009-9462-z

Published: 6 November 2009

Abstract

Nanometer size-selected Cu clusters in the size range of 1–5 nm have been produced by a plasma-gas-condensation-type cluster deposition apparatus, which combines a grow-discharge sputtering with an inert gas condensation technique. With this method, by controlling the experimental conditions, it was possible to produce nanoparticles with a strict control in size. The structure and size of Cu nanoparticles were determined by mass spectroscopy and confirmed by atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning electron transmission microscopy (STEM) measurements. In order to preserve the structural and morphological properties, the energy of cluster impact was controlled; the energy of acceleration of the nanoparticles was in near values at 0.1 ev/atom for being in soft landing regime. From SEM measurements developed in STEM-HAADF mode, we found that nanoparticles are near sized to those values fixed experimentally also confirmed by AFM observations. The results are relevant, since it demonstrates that proper optimization of operation conditions can lead to desired cluster sizes as well as desired cluster size distributions. It was also demonstrated the efficiency of the method to obtain size-selected Cu clusters films, as a random stacking of nanometer-size crystallites assembly. The deposition of size-selected metal clusters represents a novel method of preparing Cu nanostructures, with high potential in optical and catalytic applications.

Keywords:
Cu nanoparticles; Inert gas condensation; Cu cluster films; Structure of nanoscale materials